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AARP, Leadership Florida Bring Debates to Florida

With voter interest growing in the upcoming fall political season, AARP Florida is teaming up with other leading Florida organizations to help inform voters on the candidates’ positions on critical issues in races for the U.S. Senate, governor and state Cabinet posts.

The “Decision 2010: Before You Vote” series begins with debates in August for candidates for the Republican and Democratic nominations for U.S. Senate and governor. Floridians go to the polls Aug. 24 to vote in party primary elections.

Debates also will be held in October between the major-party nominees for U.S. Senate and governor. In addition, the debate series will feature a forum for candidates for three Cabinet posts: chief financial officer, attorney general and commissioner of agriculture.

“On many levels, 2010 will be a pivotal election for Floridians of all generations,” said Lori Parham, AARP’s Florida state director. “Florida’s next U.S. senator likely will vote on issues vital to the nearly 3 million Floridians who are AARP members, such as protecting the future of Social Security, strengthening Medicare and improving the lifetime financial security of all Americans.”

“Also, it is already clear that Florida’s next governor will face tremendous challenges, including restoring the state’s economic health and meeting the needs of a growing older population.”

“Meanwhile, Florida’s elected Cabinet officers each play significant roles in decisions affecting millions of our members and all Floridians.”

“It is critical that AARP provide opportunities for voters of all ages to understand exactly where the candidates stand on the key issues of the day. AARP Florida is proud to be able to help bring this debate series to voters in the weeks before they vote.”

The debate series is brought to Floridians by Leadership Florida, the state’s leading leadership-development organization, and the Florida Press Association. In addition to AARP Florida, other organizations supporting the debate series include the Claude Pepper Center and the Claude Pepper Foundation of the Florida State University, the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Association of Insurance Agents. The debates will be hosted by Nova Southeastern University and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida. The October debate series will be held on Nova Southeastern’s Broward campus. The honorary co-chairs of the debate series are former Florida Govs. Bob Martinez, a Republican, and Bob Graham, a Democrat.

The debates will be broadcast statewide on network television stations in each of Florida’s 11 designated media markets. Stations anchoring production of the debates include WPLG-TV Ch. 10 (ABC) in Miami, WKMG-TV Ch. 6 (CBS) in Orlando and WJXT-TV Ch. 4 in Jacksonville. The debates will also be broadcast in Fort Myers, Gainesville, Panama City, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Tampa Bay, Sarasota and West Palm Beach. In addition, the debates will be carried live on Florida radio and covered extensively by Florida newspapers.

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